Take a tour back in time and try these pilgrim Thanksgiving recipes for some flavors of the past.
Ye Olde Pilgrim Thanksgiving Recipes to Enjoy Today
Pilgrim Food: What Did the Pilgrims Eat on Thanksgiving
I’ve always wondered, what did the pilgrims eat every day? As far as I know, things were prepared simpler back then… Leaving aesthetics much to be desired.
But hey, they only had so many ingredients, and definitely no supermarkets, so let’s give them some credit for creativity! I did a little research on “what do pilgrims eat?”
The Thanksgiving feast we know today is nothing like what the pilgrims had 391 years ago. Their pickings were much slimmer, but they were able to make a beautiful feast leaving them satisfied, full, and grateful.
1. Roasted Butternut Squash
Okay, so this may be a modern way to prepare this but I’m sure everyone will enjoy this roasted butternut squash. The leeks, bacon, and a smoky-sweet apple glaze bring the wonderful fall flavors together.
2. Stewed Pumpkin
Just gather all the ingredients and make this stewed pumpkin in just one pot. It’s a standing dish perfect for fall and winter.
Have a taste of history by making these simple biscuits the civil war soldiers ate. Hardtack is so easy even your kids can make them, plus it’s a survival food item you should know of just in case…
4. Turkey Sobaheg
In simpler terms, turkey stew.
- 225 g dry beans
- 225 g white or yellow corn
- 1/2 kg of turkey meat
- 3L cold water
- 115 g green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 225 g winter squash, cubed
- 1/2 cup pounded walnuts
- onion powder and/or garlic to taste
- clam juice to taste (optional)
Place beans, corn, turkey meat, onion or garlic powder, and water in a large pot. Simmer over medium heat and cook for about 2 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.
When the beans are tender, break up turkey meat and remove the skin and bones. Throw in green beans and squash, and simmer over low heat until they are tender.
5. Boiled Bread Recipe
Yes, boiled bread. Before people had ovens, they had to boil their bread.
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup cornflour
- 1L slightly boiled water
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, blueberries, and currants
- 1/2 cup crushed nuts
- Maple syrup to taste (optional)
Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add slightly boiled water a spoonful at a time.
When it becomes thick and sticky, shape round patties.
Return water to a slight rolling boil and drop in one or two patties, Make sure they do not stick to the bottom.
Remove the bread when they begin to float.
6. Curd Fritters Recipe
They did it a little differently in the past but here’s a modern take on this pilgrim recipe you can follow today.
- 5 eggs
- curds (ricotta, cottage, or other soft cheese)
- wheat or cornflour
- cooking oil or butter
Make a thin batter with the eggs and equal amounts of curds and flour, then season with salt. Heat a small amount of cooking oil in your frying pan.
When the oil is hot, pour in the batter and tip the pan to make the batter spread very thinly–they should be like crepes.
When brown on one side, use your knife to flip them over or slide them onto a plate and flip them over into the pan.
Add more oil to the pan when needed. Serve with sugar sprinkled on the top if you wish.
7. Nasaump Recipe
This is something similar to oatmeal or porridge prepared by the Wampanoags.
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup assorted berries
- 1/2 crushed walnuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds
- 1L water
- maple syrup (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously for about 15 minutes.
8. Indian Meal Pudding
Need some classic pilgrim comfort food? Then try making this yummy Indian meal pudding recipe.
So named after the cornmeal the natives gave them upon arrival.
9. Easy Thanksgiving Pilgrim’s Hat Cookie Treats
Okay, so maybe the pilgrims didn’t eat these yummy Thanksgiving pilgrim’s hat cookie treats but it’s actually pretty easy, so it’s sure to be a definite winner.
10. Mussel Stew
When the pilgrims arrived, one of the most abundant kinds of seafood they found are mussels. And this stew is easy to prepare.
- 2 kls mussels
- 2 tbsp butter
- chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
Scrub the mussels clean. In a large pot, place a cup of water and all ingredients aside from the mussels. Bring it to a boil. Add the mussels and let it a simmer until all of the mussels have opened fully.
Want to see what food the pilgrims probably ate for Thanksgiving? Check out this video from Top Tenz:
Our Thanksgiving menu today is already totally different, yet the festivities and the spirit still remain the same. No matter what is in store for your Thanksgiving menu this year, be sure to prepare it with a more grateful heart.
What do you think of these pilgrim Thanksgiving recipes? Will you give it a try? Let me know in the comment section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 5, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.